Sea Lice from local fish farms 50,000 fin clipped smolt release in Lochy – even balance on all 4 private beats and river mouth.

Treated against lice when necessary based on late winter lice figures

Ongoing liaison with fish farm industry, Highland Council and Marine Scotland about the relocation of the inshore fish farms to deep-water locations (short term) or to land-based or closed containment units (eventual goal).

Declining 1sw grilse numbers Undertake an annual 16 site electro-fishing survey to identify areas of poor recruitment

50,000 – 100,000 fed fry released in areas identified by the electro-fishing survey

200,000 from 2019 onwards due to additional captive broodstock maturing in hatchery

Improved access to some smaller tributaries including working with LFT to install new fish passes on barriers on the Inverlochy and Distillery burns

Roy/Spean below min spawning target 25,000 fin clipped pre-smolts released in October 2017

From April 2018 onwards release of 25,000 fin clipped full smolts

Ongoing talks with Braeroy re bankside fencing

Predation in river Responsible person to deliver a predation control plan including goosanders, gulls and trout

eg. YEAR-ROUND goosander target = 1 birds per 24 acres (research by Dr PF Elson)

Mucomir Counter below min spawning target New smolt trapping, captive broodstock and eyed ova stocking programme agreed with SSE and Lochiel estates. Starts in April 2018

Ongoing negotiation with SSE in to improve downstream and upstream fish passage at Mucomir including the design of a new operating regime using the new turbines and floodgate control


 

 

 

 

 

 

50,000 Spring stocked fin clipped smolts main stem River Lochy April 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

25,000 Late autumn parr stocked into Roy Catchment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our young helpers!

A short report this week.

A big well done to Colin Nice and David Lake for catching the only 2 fish of the week from the main beats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, well done to Andy Burton on his 2 fish from the Spean. He’s still on course to land a salmon every month this season!!

Forecast still looks unsettled so water levels will remain high.

 

September has been and gone and will go down as one of the worst in recent times.  Although we managed 3 fish this last week, it still only brings our monthly total to 8………which is over 80% down of the 5 yr average.

Understandably so,  the angling pressure on both club and private beats drops significantly when times are as tough as this.  However I must praise Wilson and Spencer parties this last week, who fished hard and proved that perseverance sometimes pays off.  They landed 3 salmon and lost another.   Well done!

We now move into October and the last 2 weeks of our season.   Some significant rain is arriving today (so they say) so this will surely increase water levels and may just start to push fish back down the Spean into the Lochy, where they will eventually spawn.   This can often present an opportunity for the angler as the salmon look to take up new lies.

I am not as confident regarding any new fish arriving now, but in a season like this, you just never know.

A few more of these would be nice!

This could be the shortest fishing report I’ve ever done. Quite simply I have nothing to report catch-wise from the main Lochy beats.   Despite fairly good conditions, no fresh fish entered the river!  However on Saturday evening, ghillie John MacIsaac landed a nice female hen fish of around 24lbs from Mucomir pool…….probably a June fish!

With no fresh fish and very few residents in the main beats the fishing is extremely challenging….and it’s certainly a cause for concern looking ahead!   It is without doubt that the run-timings of salmon are changing,  and this is being seen across the country (not just west coast) with less and less fresh-run fish entering the rivers during the late Summer and Autumn period.   Quite simply, we all may have to adjust our calendars and indeed our expectations to fit around these changes in the years ahead.

I will be discussing this very matter with the RLA in the coming days.

I am not predicting much of an upturn for the remaining weeks so the fishing will tough going!  To have a chance of a fish, I’d fish the fly deep in the main holding pools with mornings and evenings being the optimum times…..conditions allowing!

Unfortunately I have very little to report on this past week.

The stock levels in the river remain low,  but we are still seeing odd fresh fish running.   The conditions continue to be challenging with the continual rain and high water – which has persisted since June.  I believe the official stats show that the West of Scotland has been the wettest area in all Europe this summer.  (I don’t disagree!)

On the smaller spate rivers this can often be seen as a good thing, allowing timely migration of salmon upriver. However, as we know, the salmon are just not present in any numbers so waters levels actually become irrelevant!  The Lochy is not a typical spate river and so,  wet summers such as this,  actually have a negative impact on the catches as the salmon can run quickly through the main beats and up to the main tributaries – Spean and Roy….without stopping!  (particularly when salmon are not in abundance)

This is reflected in the catches as the Spean (with very light rod pressure and much of it unfished) has produced almost half of the total catch on the Lochy thus far.

As for last weeks catches, the main Lochy beats produced only 3 grilse (1 fresh).

With further wet weather forecast I can only predict that the fishing will remain challenging unless we were to see an upturn in fresh fish entering the river.

 

Water Heights – 2ft-4ft

Water temps – 55-57 Deg F

Overhead Conditions – Cloud & Rain and Rain & Clouds

 

I don’t ever remember a season and summer like this one.   I not sure what the actual rainfall stats will say, but I’m sure it must be close to record levels.   Weather front after weather front…..it just keeps raining!   River levels have not dropped below 1ft for 8 weeks – this is simply not normal……and certainly not ideal from a fishing perspective.

When salmon numbers are low (which they presently are) the last thing you need is too much water. The fish don’t have a chance to build in the main stem Lochy beats and just run through…..and so this dynamic continues until either the river levels fall or the salmon population starts to backfill downstream.    Unfortunately neither of these seem likely at the moment.  There has been a distinct lack of fresh run fish over the last 2 weeks.

As for catches,  our skilled anglers still managed to land a few.  Malcolm Newbould’s party had 6 a week past and last week produced 5 on the main beats.  The club beats picked away also with a few landed in Mucomir pool and further up the Spean.

 

 

Next week’s weather looks  similar to previous so I guess river levels may hold up.  It would be somewhat re-assuring to see some fresh fish arriving.

 

Water Levels – 1ft2-2ft

Water temperature – 55F

Weather Conditions – overcast, rain and occasional sun

After the upturn in Grilse numbers at the start of August I did have high hopes for this past week. We had ideal overheads and good water levels most days,  but it was evident that the conditions were not the issue!  The usual pods of fresh Grilse arriving on each tide simply weren’t there in any numbers. Monday produced only 2 fresh Grilse and a few seen running through,  but as the days passed the anglers saw less and less and it wasn’t until Friday that a further Grilse was landed on the main beats.

Donnie with a nice Grilse from Beat 3.

August is typically our most productive month but relies heavily on runs of fresh 1SW salmon (Grilse). The run thus far has been much less than anticipated, but it would appear (looking at available figures) that many other rivers are experiencing a similar downturn.

Maybe it’s time that our national groups and organisations representing the Wild salmon interests starting focusing their efforts and delivering some answers and solutions.   For far too long they have promised lots and delivered little. Time for change!

Anyway, on a much brighter note I received a message ( and some lovely photos) from local angler Rory Campbell telling  me his 5 year old daughter – Freya hooked and landed (unaided) a lovely 8lb salmon from the River Spean on Saturday morning. (…and I’m sure he said she followed him down the pool….. :)) lol

Great to see the next generation coming through – Well done Freya!!!!

Expertly played…

 

….and big smiles at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have no idea what to expect next week so let’s just wait and see what happens.